Shortly after the Supreme Court handed down its decision on June 27, 2015 redefining marriage I noticed that many of my younger friends on Facebook had put a rainbow overlay on their profile pictures supporting this historical decision. I was befuddled because I was experiencing a real sense of loss and an unsettled feeling that could easily be described as mourning. What could explain the difference in our response? Was it generational? Was it religious orientation? Or was there something I was missing? After talking to more than a few of my friends and relatives about the SCOTUS decision I realized that the difference was in our perception of how this affected church, society, government and our world at large. For them it was a civil rights issue very much akin to the civil rights movement of the 60’s. But for me it was a watershed moment breached in a slowly developing moral decay brought on by postmodern mores that tolerate any behavior that is between consulting adults. It seemed to be that the goal of many in the name of justice, equality and compassion was to normalize and institutionalize what once was considered aberrant or salacious. In 1973 prominent psychiatrist, Karl Menninger wrote a book entitled, “Whatever Became of Sin?” He lamented that in society and the mental health profession sin had disappeared but guilt remained because morality was diminished and identification of the core problems were diffused so no healing or preventative measures could be pursued. More than four decades later we stand at a crossroads where immorality is swallowed up by labeling it civil rights. And those who maintain once orthodox views of moral standards are considered bigoted, closed minded and intolerant of the rights of others. This is further confused by truly bigoted, close minded and intolerant extremist and both sides of the issue muddying the waters so an open discussion on why and how we got to such a place so different from the majority of history is impossible to have. What happened to obscure what seemed so clear for thousands of years?
The hash tag that accompanied the myriad of posts in social media was “#lovewins.” Maybe, this is the place for the dialogue to begin. Not in some naive way thinking we will agree on the definition of love but rather that a loving spirit is what must prevail. Somehow it must be evidenced and perceived that the common ground we will meet on is an open, receptive, caring spirit that honors, values and respects our common human bond. That within that circle of understanding each party can agree to not only disagree but acknowledge that often we don’t hear one another because of differing priorities, ethical compasses, and accepted truths. It must further be agreed that one party does not tell the other party what they believe or feel. We must listen to each other without clouding the communication with stereotypes or the weight of previous encounters. And maybe most importantly it must be acknowledged that there are impasses where there can be no agreement because we simply don’t agree on final authority or truth.
So, what can we do to get the dialogue going sans the mudslinging and the futility of who can shout the loudest? I’m eager to see who can begin the journey that will lead us to the light of the ages that has shaped rational and godly thinking through history.
(This post is not intended to be a Scriptural discussion outlining the biblical view of marriage and sexuality but rather a stimulus for starting a dialogue in a much divided nation. Please pray for our nation and our leaders!)